Friday, August 28, 2009

Halloween II

For those who dug the first one, Rob Zombie's follow-up to the ultra violent (yet not-so-scary) 'Halloween' remake 'Halloween II' comes out today. I was not a fan of Zombie's 're-imaging' of John Carpenter's 1978 classic, but I have seen every Halloween movie on the big screen since 'Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers' back in 1988, so I suppose I'll go see this blood soaked hillbilly jamboree.

Zombie claims he was not constrained by the story-line of the original sequel, so this one is all new material. That can either be good or bad when you consider the director. Zombie's movies contain too many redneck psychos for my taste, and in any case it will be hard to live up to the suspense of The Shape chasing Jamie Lee Curtis through the hospital halls on Halloween night. But I will squirm my way through the mayhem, all the while hoping they finally entice Carpenter back for one last Halloween installment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Change Is In The Air...

Just a quick note to say that some new pics are up on the site. Mostly under the 2008 link, but there are some others scattered throughout as well. I have the desire to overhaul the site a bit this haunting season. I have the ambition, but not necessarily the time. Until then, I hope to upload some new stuff over the next few weeks as we start gearing up for the big day...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spiced Pumpkins

My wife keeps amping up the anticipation for autumn with her wonderful purchases. I was surprised to find a deep, cinnamon orange Yankee Candle the other day with the words 'Spiced Pumpkin' printed on it. When I popped off the top, the scents of fall brought visions of red and orange leaves falling off of trees and crunching under foot, kids off to school with backpacks slung over their shoulders, and high school football kicking off under the lights on a Friday night. It smells even better when lit and it really has me motivated to make this the best Halloween ever (it's on a Saturday night - so every effort has to be made to ensure that it IS the best ever!) Great candles like this definitely help...

P.S. Behind the candle is a paper mache skull purchased at Michaels for just a couple of bucks. These make great decorations and are easy for kids to paint if you're looking for a spooky craft project to keep the little ghouls busy. On the right is my new coffee mug - also from Michaels. What can I say - I LOVE this mug! (I'm sipping out of it right now). In the back of the picture are some 'witch jars' I'm working on. The inspiration for these great Halloween decorations come from who never ceases to amaze me with his artistry.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Still Waiting...

Saw this dude waiting for a bus to downtown Chicago. I know that traffic can be murder in the windy city, but this is ridiculous. Actually, he was an advertisement for a chiropractor, which I thought was pretty clever. Just one of the many oddities we observed during our whirlwind weekend to Chi-town for the Jimmy Buffett show.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The new season of GHOST HUNTERS starts tonight. For those who don't know, 'Ghost Hunters' chronicles the adventures of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S. for short.) After a dull run of Ghost Hunters International, the real deal finally returns to the airwaves just in time for the haunting season to kick into full swing.

Don't get me wrong - GHI is okay. It just seems that with all the history of Europe and its ancient buildings, castles, and crypts at their disposal, you'd think the ever-changing GHI team could capture a little more compelling evidence than disembodied groans. It just seems to me the original Ghost Hunters team appears a little more consistent with their reveals - and the previews for the upcoming season seem to hold much promise.

As one who has participated in a professional paranormal investigation, I have a keen interest in this show. While there seems to be a lot of sensationalism with the program that is inherent to the television format, it is easily overlooked for the anticipation the shows delivers in it's mid-week time slot. And now that GHI has wrapped - we can pop the popcorn, chill the rootbeer, and settle in under a cozy blanket for another great season of the 'real' Ghost Hunters.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Best. Coozie. Ever.

My beautiful wife picked up the can coozie pictured above for a buck at JoAnn Fabrics the other day. Best. Coozie. Ever! Now I only need some Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale to put inside of it and I'll be able to kick off the haunting season in style!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Never A Monster

On today's date in 1994, the world lost one of it's greatest actors and all-around gentleman: Peter Cushing. Like many movie buffs my age, I was first introduced to Mr. Cushing's impressive body of work with George Lucas' 1977 space opus 'Star Wars.' The next time I would see Mr. Cushing on screen would be in the bizarre 1984 comedy 'Top Secret.' But my respect and devotion for the silver screen's greatest Van Helsing would come when I saw Hammer Studio's terrific production of 'Dracula.'

Although known for his monster movies, Cushing could do Shakespeare with ease, although he was known to have said: "Who wants to see me as Hamlet? Very few. But millions want to see me as Frankenstein so that's the one I do. If I played Hamlet, they'd call it a horror film."

One movie of his that I always enjoy watching is the 1974 Hammer schlock-fest "The Satanic Rites of Dracula." It is a rather absurd Dracula movie which also starred Cushing's great friend, Christopher Lee, but Cushing brings such a presence to the movie that he quite literally steals every scene he's in. The simple act of him making tea and offering around a box of cigarettes while nonchalantly discussing vampires and the undead is one of my all time favorite scenes. As for destroying monsters, here's what the man himself had to say on the subject...

"People look at me as if I were some sort of monster, but I can't think why. In my macabre pictures, I have either been a monster-maker or a monster-destroyer, but never a monster. Actually, I'm a gentle fellow. Never harmed a fly. I love animals, and when I'm in the country I'm a keen bird-watcher."

Peter Cushing was a great talent who lives on in so many memorable roles; from Baron Von Frankenstein to Lawrence Van Helsing to Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Who. May you rest in peace, Mr. Cushing. You were a class act who is sorely missed by many.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Halloween in Tijuana

Halloween in Tijuana, full moon in my eyes
I wonder how in the hell I got here without a disguise...

So the countdown has begun for our next Jimmy Buffett experience. It's been almost six long years since we saw him on his 2003 'Tikki Time' tour. On that excursion we missed out on the fabulous pre-show festivities since my wife was seven months pregnant at the time - we like to tell our daughter that her first concert was Jimmy Buffett! And while there is something to be said for enjoying yourself responsibly, there is nothing quite like tailgating before a Jimmy show. Parrotheads (Buffett faithful) come out in force and everyone is your friend, cousin, or drinking buddy.

Pretty girls they beckon from their rooms above
Skeletons are dancing in the name of love...

We definitely wanted to get in on the act this time around with our own game of chance that peppers the parking lot of any venue Buffett visits. Since we are going with my sister-in-law and her husband - who is an avid golf enthusiast - I thought it would be appropriate to rig up a little putting green in honor of the occasion. My version, called the 'Tin Cup Challenge' (real Parrotheads will get the reference) is built in the true spirit of Jimmy and the lifestyle he promotes. Parrotheads that can thread the needle of obstacles and sink a putt into the tin cup will earn themselves a tasty Jell-O shot.

I hear the people singing that same old haunting tune
I drink because I know it's me against the moon...

While I have been enjoying the unusually cool weather this summer and the keen spark to build Halloween props that comes with it, I have to admit that the putting green was a nice diversion. Seeing Jimmy this Saturday kind of brings the summer to a close for us. While there are a few weeks left of August, after the show we kind of switch gears and go into full Halloween mode...

Yo quiero a bailar en Mexico
We do the desperation samba con nos amigos...